By Lynn Horton
Peasants in Arms information the position of neighborhood elites in organizing the 1st anti-Sandinista rebellion in 1980 and their next upward push to positions of box command within the contras. Lynn Horton explores the interior components that led a majority of peasants to show opposed to the revolution and the ways that the army draft, and relations and neighborhood pressures strengthened clash and undermined mid-decade FSLN coverage shifts that tried to win again peasant support.
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Extra info for Peasants In Arms: War & Peace in the Mountains of Nicaragua, 1979-1994 (Ohio RIS Latin America Series)
The road from San Juan del Río Coco to Quilalí is particularly slow and at times dangerous. In the rainy season vehicles often lose traction completely on steep muddy inclines or become stuck in quagmires several feet deep and must be pulled out with chains. Even in the best of weather ﬂat tires and breakdowns are common. Passengers, who risked contra mines and ambushes to travel to Quilalí during the war years of the s, in the s faced the threat of assault by armed groups—recontras and bandits—active in the northern mountains in the postwar period.
In the western Segovias cattle production expanded particularly rapidly in the municipalities of Las Sabanas, Somoto, San Lucas, Pueblo Nuevo, Cusmapa, and San Juan de Limay and in general increased land inequalities in the western Segovias (CIERA , ). On the eve of the revolution in the department of Nueva Segovia the largest one-ﬁfth of farms held percent of the land (DEA-UNAN , ). Quilalí informants remember that a number of poor peasants in their native communities lost their land altogether, due to expanding cattle haciendas during this period, while others were limited to farming the more marginal lands of the western Segovias.
Even in later years, as the amount of unoccupied land and opportunities for poor peasants in the municipality shrank, this image of the agricultural frontier as the bountiful hope for the future remained deeply etched in Quilalí peasant consciousness. When peasant migrants from the western Segovias came to Quilalí in the s, much of the municipality’s land, particularly in the northern and eastern mountains, was either unsettled or could be purchased cheaply. Even in Quilalí’s river valley, where several haciendas had been established in the early s, there were still substantial tracts of forested land waiting to be claimed.